I’ve loved every camp I’ve ever worked at, some for the people and some for the place and some for both. Camp Singing Pines and Camp Teresita I loved for both. They both had some of the best staff and nicest people I’ve ever worked with. When you are young working at camp it is sometimes considered a hardship by outsiders but to those who love camp it is the most special place on earth. Yes, it has bugs and wildlife that is sometimes scary and it may not have flush toilets and hot water but it makes up for those in ways that go way beyond those imagined hardships.
Where else can you do the things you love best every day and be with people you love beyond imagining? We spent our days making crafts, taking hikes, appreciating nature, swimming, canoeing riding horseback, backpacking, playing with the kids and each other. When you work at a camp, you learn a new language, each camp has its own. Each camp has its own stories, its own traditions. All of them unique and most of the time all of them wonderful. The trick is to learn the customs and language of each unique world, for each is a different world. Nowhere else can you be so insulated from reality and the outside world. Even this weekend there was no cell reception and wifi was intermittent and only in one tiny area of the Dining Hall. News from the outside world only comes through if it seems of major importance. I can remember very few news events effecting what went on at camp. The death of Lady Olave Baden-Powell, Elvis’ death, the bicentennial (mostly because we made our own celebration) or the year The EMPIRE STRIKES BACK came out. We’re more likely to remember the “the year it flooded and the chapel had to be dug out” or “the year the Oklahoma Girl Scouts were murdered in their tents so we had patrol” or “ the year we had Peter Pervert in camp” “the year we had plague in camp”.
At Girl Scout camps you go by your GS nickname and at Teresita we had Miss before our name which since I go by my camp name almost every where led to a mix for me, I was Miss Kat at Teresita partly to avoid being yet another Miss Mary something. Since almost everyone in camp was a Miss Mary Pat, Miss Mary Katherine, Miss Mary etc. Got a bit repetitive. I spent most of my time trying to convince the girls I was not a nun. There was a formula at work in the kid’s brains. If you had short hair and wore blue a lot you were automatically a nun. This was not helped by Miss Susan who out of a sick sense of humour called me to her office one day over the camp loudspeaker as “Sister Mary Elizabeth” to which all the kids yelled “You said you weren’t a nun!” There could have been ritual sacrifice done if she hadn’t been my boss.
It’s funny how quickly you can slip into the rhythm of camp even at a reunion. The bell rings and it’s time to eat or go to campfire or other activity. No watch needed. It’s laid back rhythm. Not at all like the normal life. I love my life most of the time now but it’s awfully nice to go back in time for awhile and visit a well loved place.